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What consumers think about the Czech energy market

More than half of the households that have not changed their electricity supplier have remained for the same supplier for more than 15 years. In the case of gas, this group of "loyalists" is almost 40%. This results from a current survey by the consumer organization dTest. More than 90% of those who have changed in the past few years through door-to-door sales are over 55 years of age. One third of all respondents said they had encountered aggressive business practices by energy suppliers.

A new survey shows that people who have changed the vendor's past years have a greater tendency to change it again. Conversely, those who are customers of the same vendor for more than 15 years do not usually want to change.

"The greatest willingness to switch suppliers is expressed by consumers who have used the services of Internet graders in the past. Generally speaking, they are people of working age who are able to actively find a more advantageous offer - use internet graders or participate in the auction of energy suppliers, " said Lukáš Zelený, head of the legal department of consumer organization dTest. And he adds, "The smallest willingness to change supplier, on the contrary, we see in those household groups that are with the existing supplier for 2 to 3 years or more than 15 years. Interestingly, the vendors do not want to change even those who have previously made a change through door-to-door sales. We think the reason is the negative experience of these people and the fear of being burned again. "

The survey results also reaffirmed the fact that people often do not know the terms of their own contract with the supplier. 10% of respondents do not even know basic information about what type of contract they have: whether it is a contract of indefinite or definite duration. Of those who have a fixed-term contract, 10% said they did not know when the contract ended and 46% said they did not know whether they had a contractual penalty in their contract for early termination.

"The problem is mainly because fixed-term contracts can not be denounced prematurely either at all or only by paying a contractual fine. In some cases, this is close to the amount for energy withdrawal until the end of the commitment. Many suppliers make it difficult for their customers to go to competition by refusing to communicate important contract details. So when the contract ends, what is the notice period and the amount of the contractual penalty. Suppliers are required to provide this information on request , but often they do not do so with privacy excuses or tell customers to have the information themselves. The solution would be to include this information in the bill, " says Lukas Zeleny. Three fifths of survey respondents on this topic said they would welcome this information if they were included in the annual billing of services. 26% of people believe that the supplier should disclose this information on request by telephone, e-mail or branch.

People who live in family houses better than people living in dwellings (whether in rent or personal ownership) are better informed. 7% of those living in family houses do not know whether they have a fixed or indefinite contract, while people living in dwellings lack this awareness twice more - "I do not know," said almost 15% of respondents.

More than a third (36%) respondents said they were bound by a fixed-term contract, most often for two years. 39% of respondents have a penalty in the contract in case of early termination of the contract.
The survey also showed that aggressive business practices in the door-to-door energy sales are still blooming . More than a third of them met. "My 83-year-old neighbor has been contracted to another vendor for a fixed term - two years, signing proof that he does not want to change anything ... Another supplier, of course, was more expensive than the current one," one of the survey respondents described.

Street vendors are the most successful with older consumers. 94% of respondents who changed the vendor's item through door-to-door sales are over 55 years of age. Of these, 35% were aged 55 to 64, 59% were aged 65 and over.

The most common reason to discourage changing energy suppliers is the fact that people do not know how to choose the most advantageous tariff from an uncomfortable offer. At the top of the list is also the unwillingness to deal with the change in the supplier as well as concerns about the administrative demands of change and possible deception by the new supplier. The main reasons for dissatisfaction with the existing supplier are high price, poor customer service and communication, and extensive or incomprehensible contract and business terms.

About 21% of survey respondents currently consider the change in energy supplier. The energy market is trying to shake the consumer organization dTest, which has been organizing an energy auction for the third time in order to make a more advantageous supply of electricity and gas available to a large group of customers.

More than 25,000 households have registered with the current bulk change of energy suppliers "I want more energy" organized by dTest. Most households (50%) are interested in changing the electricity and gas supplier, 44% of registered households want to switch electricity suppliers, 6% only gas suppliers. The energy auction will take place this March 8th. Until the day of the auction, the households can register without registration at

Source. tz

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